Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Way of Perfection: Celebrating Saint Teresa's Quincentenary

St. Teresa [of Avila] teaches...that all are called to the mystic union with God, even in this life.

The means to this end are the perfection in the virtues and the faithful and diligent practice of meditative prayer. Following her mentor St. Peter of Alcantara, she counsels a form of simple meditation consisting of reading devout literature, particularly the Holy Scripture, and that which speaks of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a little at a time, and pausing to meditate upon the words when they strike one, then proceeding with the reading in the same way. The person must persevere in this practice despite temptations and aridity, and the Lord will perhaps reward him with the prayer of recollection of simple affectionate vision of simplicity. This prayer is however not yet contemplative in the strict sense of passive, infused, contemplation, but only in the active, acquired sense.

To find God, St Teresa explains in the same Way of Perfection, 'the soul does not require wings to fly and seek Him, but she can compose herself in solitude and behold Him within herself: and let her not separate from so good a Guest, but with great humility speak to Him as a Father, entreat Him as a Father, relate her troubles to Him, and beg a remedy for them, knowing that she is not worthy to be His daughter....This kind of prayer, though it be vocal, recollects the understanding much sooner, and is a prayer that brings with it many benefits. It is called the prayer of recollection, because in it the soul recollects all the faculties, and enters within herself with her God; ... Those that can thus shut themselves up in this little Heaven of our soul, where He abides who created heaven and earth; and they who can also accustom themselves not to behold, or stay where these exterior senses distract them, let them believe that they walk in an excellent way, and that they shall not fail of being able to drink the living water from the fountain...'

At this stage in the ascent of the soul to God, there follows the 'Night of the Senses', with its pain, illnesses, aridity, violent temptations, and contradictions, which serves to detach the subject from creatures, pleasures, and self, to attach him to God in a state of passive recollection, at the beginnings of infused contemplation. In her 'Relation to Father Rodrigo Alvarez' the saint writes: 'The soul seems to desire to withdraw itself from the external tumults retreating into herself; and sensing that they sometimes come after her, feels the need to close the eyes and not see, nor hear, and not understand anything but that with which she is now occupied, that is to to be able alone to treat with God alone.'

Then it is that a deep and delightful peace inundate the soul in a sweet and supernatural sleep which dilates and enormously expands her love. This is the 'prayer of quiet'. It is most of all the will that participates in this joy, happy to be enslaved in this way by God and happy to enjoy this union with Him, like St. Mary Magdalen in the presence of Our Lord.

In the 'prayer of union', not only the will but all the other faculties - intelligence, memory, imagination - are suspended and immersed in God. The soul feels so united with God that it is impossible for her to doubt their interpenetration. She is inundated with an extreme loving tenderness and filled with courage. This is the time for heroic resolutions, and ardent desires, accompanied by a horror for the World and all worldly vanities. This prayer admits of various degrees and can assume an ecstatic quality. Despite the fact that God wounds the soul with arrows of love and inflames her with the most holy desires, He does not cease to purify her with great internal and external trials. This is the 'passive night of the spirit' in the words of St. John of the Cross. 'When I think of these pains', writes the saint in 'The Interior Castle', 'I fear that if we had foreseen them, it would have been very difficult for our natural weakness to have resolved to bear them.'

These trials prepare the soul to enter the 'Seventh Mansion', the state of 'transforming union', or 'spiritual marriage': the highest and most sublime degree of prayer possible on this earth. This prayer too has various phases or stages. the Divine Spouse communicates his invitations of a more and more intimate and delicate nature, and unites Himself to her to such an extent that she forgets all things and has only one thought: how to please Him. He immerses her in a calm and sweet state, usually without raptures and ecstasy, in which she sees the Three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity communicate Themselves to her 'in a representation of the Truth', whereby it is especially the Second Person Who contracts an alliance of affection with her. The soul resolves zealously to pursue the interests of the Beloved, with an immense desire to suffer and to labour therein, while at the same time exclaims with St. Paul: 'Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo'.

This then is the mystical doctrine of St. Teresa, always combined with the ascetic doctrine (as we have already seen at the initial stage of the spiritual life): the perfection of the soul notably in the virtues of humility, detachment, abnegation of self, and of Charity.

P. S. Saint Teresa of Avila was born 28th March 1515, the same year as Saint Philip Neri (21st July), by whom she was outlived by thirteen years! She died 4th October 1582, he on 25th of May 1595 two months shy of his eightieth birthday.

P.S.S. Interesting to note how many saints God raised up in that century of the great modern heresy of Protestantism: Saint Ignatius, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint John of the Cross, Saint John of Avila, Saint Peter of Alcantara, Saint Vincent Ferrer, Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Robert Bellarmine, Saint Peter Canasius, just to name a few that come to the top of my head! And all great names! 

Why Belief is Reasonable: Saint Thomas Aquinas

1. Theoretical Necessity: The Extremely Limited Nature and Scope of Unaided Human Intelligence

“The Evidence of Things that Appear Not.”—But someone will say that it is foolish to believe what is not seen, and that one should not believe in things that he cannot see. I answer by saying that the imperfect nature of our intellect takes away the basis of this difficulty. For if man of himself could in a perfect manner know all things visible and invisible, it would indeed be foolish to believe what he does not see. But our manner of knowing is so weak that no philosopher could perfectly investigate the nature of even one little fly. We even read that a certain philosopher spent thirty years in solitude in order to know the nature of the bee. If, therefore, our intellect is so weak, it is foolish to be willing to believe concerning God only that which man can know by himself alone. And against this is the word of Job: “Behold, God is great, exceeding our knowledge” [Job 36:26]. One can also answer this question by supposing that a certain master had said something concerning his own special branch of knowledge, and some uneducated person would contradict him for no other reason than that he could not understand what the master said! Such a person would be considered very foolish. So, the intellect of the Angels as greatly exceeds the intellect of the greatest philosopher as much as that of the greatest philosopher exceeds the intellect of the uneducated man. Therefore, the philosopher is foolish if he refuses to believe what an Angel says, and far greater fool to refuse to believe what God says. Against such are these words: “For many things are shown to you above the understanding of men” [Sir 3:25].

2. Practical Necessity: Everyone Does It!

Then, again, if one were willing to believe only those things which one knows with certitude, one could not live in this world. How could one live unless one believed others? How could one know that this man is one’s own father? Therefore, it is necessary that one believe others in matters which one cannot know perfectly for oneself. But no one is so worthy of belief as is God, and hence they who do not believe the words of faith are not wise, but foolish and proud. As the Apostle says: “He is proud, knowing nothing” [1 Tim 6:4].And also: “I know whom I have believed; and I am certain” [2 Tim 1:12].And it is written: “You who fear the Lord, believe Him and your reward shall not be made void” [Sir 2:8].Finally, one can say also that God proves the truth of the things which faith teaches. Thus, if a king sends letters signed with his seal, no one would dare to say that those letters did not represent the will of the king. In like manner, everything that the Saints believed and handed down to us concerning the faith of Christ is signed with the seal of God. This seal consists of those works which no mere creature could accomplish; they are the miracles by which Christ confirmed the sayings of the apostles and of the Saints.

3. Historical Necessity: History's Grand Miraculous Testimony

If, however, you would say that no one has witnessed these miracles, I would reply in this manner. It is a fact that the entire world worshipped idols and that the faith of Christ was persecuted, as the histories of the pagans also testify. But now all are turned to Christ—wise men and noble and rich—converted by the words of the poor and simple preachers of Christ. Now, this fact was either miracle or it was not. If it is miraculous, you have what you asked for, a visible fact; if it is not, then there could not be a greater miracle than that the whole world should have been converted without miracles. And we need go no further. We are more certain, therefore, in believing the things of faith than those things which can be seen, because God’s knowledge never deceives us, but the visible sense of man is often in error.

THE APOSTLES' CREED, Prologue, by Thomas Aquinas translated by Joseph B. Collins New York, 1939Edited and Html-formated by Joseph Kenny, O.P. http://dhspriory.org/thomas/english/Creed.htm,

(Titles added by Plinthos)

These are three easy reasons for faith: all theory, all practicality and all history compel belief in Jesus Christ!

Why are our Bishops Afraid of the Catholic Patrimony of Church Music?

Having gone last night to the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of an Archdiocese of the North Eastern United States of America, I have to say that with the matching stoles with chasibles provided for all concelebrants, seven candles on the altar, the seminarian altar servers, especially the six torch and thurible bearers for the consecration, etc. there have been major improvements to the Cathedral liturgies. But there is still a huge linguistic and musical void: no Latin in the liturgy! and especially no Gregorian Chant and, except for one rare exception (Ubi Caritas, Ola Gjeilo--very nice!), no Sacred Polyphony in the same Latin tongue.

That is the elephant still in the living room of our Cathedrals which should disturb every Catholic and especially every bishop and priest of Jesus Christ.

It would seem that there are still bishops who are not aware of the content of the Second Vatican II directives on these matters or simply cannot be bothered (at best, content perhaps with a minimalist crisis management administrative and pastoral style). We are, after all, ten years hence from the glorious election and beginning of the historical Papacy of our great Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his liturgical legacy of the reform of the reform, unapologetic Catholic beauty in the liturgy in communion with the Church of all ages!

So, why is our sacred music still barred from our Cathedrals and Basilicas? Shall we call it the remnant of liturgically ignorant and self-hating Catholic bishops? Your priests, seminarians (and even much of the laity) have tasted better wine! Why give them the ordinary stuff!

Dear Excellencies and Eminences: stop trying to deprive your priests and people of what is rightfully theirs: the unabashed and supremely beautiful timeless Catholic worship.

P.S. There are some bishops who even go out of their way to quash this glorious Catholic patrimony: e.g. Bishop Bootkowski in Metuchen and Bishop Da Cuhna in Fall River are two who notoriously do so. Their faithful priests fear and continue to suffer greatly their rabid hatred of tradition. Both are, sorry to say, spawns of Newark! Both were also made bishops and ordinaries outside of the watch of our good and dear "German Shepherd" (and, therefore, of Cardinal Burke's vigilant tenure on the Congregation for Bishops).

The Year of Mercy 2016? What About 2033?

In my humble opinion 2016 is too early.

The proper and great Jubilee year of mercy will be 2033, the bi-millennial celebration of the death of Our Lord.

Why is no one talking about that? It's only seventeen years away!

Pope John Paul II started preparing for the year 2000 Jubilee as far back as 1979, with his first encyclical, over twenty-one years before the fact!

Here is the first paragraph of that encyclical: Redemptor Hominis.

1. At the close of the second Millennium
THE REDEEMER OF MAN, Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and of history. To him go my thoughts and my heart in this solemn moment of the world that the Church and the whole family of present-day humanity are now living. In fact, this time, in which God in his hidden design has entrusted to me, after my beloved Predecessor John Paul I, the universal service connected with the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome, is already very close to the year 2000. At this moment it is difficult to say what mark that year will leave on the face of human history or what it will bring to each people, nation, country and continent, in spite of the efforts already being made to foresee some events. For the Church, the People of God spread, although unevenly, to the most distant limits of the earth, it will be the year of a great Jubilee. We are already approaching that date, which, without prejudice to all the corrections imposed by chronological exactitude, will recall and reawaken in us in a special way our awareness of the key truth of faith which Saint John expressed at the beginning of his Gospel: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us"1, and elsewhere: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life"2.

The Holy Year presently called for by Pope Francis coincides with...nothing,...except perhaps the bi-millennium of Christ's 16th birthday! His Sweet Sixteen! But in Argentina they celebrate sweet fifteens, and that, only for girls. So, even for that we are a year late and wrong gender.

However, having said that, every year is a year of mercy, (Anno Domini, year of salvation!) and the Holy Father can call a Holy Year at will. It is one of his many prerogatives as the Supreme Pontiff. But he does look like he has an agenda with this one.

Pope Francis is a typical Latin American parish priest who carelessly bulldozes millennial traditions in order to be with the people. It is an emergency--constant crisis management--style of ministry. Most parishes in America (and probably in Argentina for that matter) would throw you out for not honoring their long-revered Catholic customs. What makes Pope Francis think that the Christian customs of Rome and of "the bishop of Rome" are any different and should be ignored?...for the sake of the people.

One additional example is the typical priestly greeting which has been used also by Popes from time immemorial: "Laudetur Jesus Christus!" Or, in Italian, "Sia Lodato Gesu Cristo!" Pope Francis never uses it to greet the people! He simply says: "Brothers and sisters, good morning",..."good lunch",.."good siesta", or another such banality...and the people supposedly love it! Well, not all people!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bishop Schneider's Ten Tips for Liturgical Renewal

Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan delivered a speech in Washington, DC on February 14 in which he provided ten recommendations for renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. These tips were documented by Steve Skojec of the OnePeterFive blog; an abbreviated version of Steve’s report appears below (Musings of a Pertinacious Papist):
  1. The tabernacle, where Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, is really present under the species of bread should be placed in the center of the sanctuary...The tabernacle is the sign indicating and containing the Real Presence of Christ and should therefore be closer to the altar and constitute with the altar the one central sign indicating the Eucharistic mystery. The Sacrament of the Tabernacle and the Sacrifice of the Altar should therefore not be opposed or separated, but both in the central place and close together in the sanctuary. All the attention of those who enter a church should spontaneously be directed towards the tabernacle and the altar. 
  2. During the Eucharistic liturgy – at the very least during the Eucharistic prayer – when Christ the Lamb of God is immolated, the face of the priest should not be seen by the faithful. Even the Seraphim cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2) when adoring God. Instead, the face of the priest should be turned toward the cross, the icon of the crucified God. 
  3. During the liturgy, there should be more signs of adoration — specifically genuflections — especially each time the priest touches the consecrated host. 
  4. The faithful approaching to receive the Lamb of God in Holy Communion should greet and receive Him with an act of adoration, kneeling. Which moment in the life of the faithful is more sacred than this moment of encounter with the Lord? 
  5. There should be more room for silence during the liturgy, especially during those moments which most fully express the mystery of the redemption. Especially when the sacrifice of the cross is made present during the Eucharistic prayer. 
  6. There should be more exterior signs which express the dependence of the priest on Christ, the High Priest, which would more clearly show that the words the priest speaks...and the blessings he offers to the faithful depend on and flow out from Christ the High Priest, not from him, the private person. ... Such signs could be ... the kissing of the altar before greeting the people to indicate that this love flows not from the priest but from the altar; and also before blessing, to kiss the altar, and then bless the people. ... Also, bowing towards the altar cross to indicate that Christ is more important than the priest... 
  7. There should be more signs which express the unfathomable mystery of the redemption. This could be achieved through the veiling of liturgical objects, because veiling is an act of the liturgy of the angels. Veiling the chalice, veiling the paten with the humeral veil, the veiling of the corporal, veiling the hands of the bishop when he celebrates a solemnity, the use of communion rails, also, to veil the altar. Also signs – signs of the cross by the priest and the faithful. Making signs of the cross during the priest by the Eucharistic prayer and by the faithful during other moments of the liturgy... 
  8. There should be a constant sign which expresses the mystery also by means of human language...Latin is a sacred language demanded by the Second Vatican Council in celebration of every holy Mass and in each place a part of the Eucharistic prayer should always be said in Latin. 
  9. All those who exercise an active role in the liturgy, such as lectors, or those announcing the prayer of the faithful, should always be dressed in the liturgical vestments; and only men...because this is an exercise in the sanctuary, close to the priesthood... 
  10. The music and the songs during the liturgy should more truly reflect the sacred character and should resemble the song of the angels, like the Sanctus, in order to be really more able to sing with one voice with the angels.”

    More by Bishop Schneider below (from onepeterfive.com).

    Editor’s Note: Following his strongly-worded interview with Polonia Christiana in the wake of the first part of the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family, we reached out to Bishop Athanasius Schneider to seek his guidance on concrete actions Catholics can take during this time of turmoil within the Church. We specifically requested his advice on what the faithful could do to resist heterodoxy and address the errors (or at least obfuscations) that seem to be issuing forth from some of the highest prelates in the Church. Though his counsel is brief, it is deeply thoughtful, and offers us a great deal of work to do. With the next meeting of the Synod less than eight months away, there is no time to waste.


    It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:

    We must create groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God.

    As a means to this aim, we must make use of all the resources that the modern world offers to us. We are not confined to waiting for the media to spread these messages. We do not have to wait for each individual pastor to preach them from the pulpit. We should embrace the new media forms that allow us to spread the Gospel and the teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. We should take our message to the Internet, publish it on websites, blogs, and social media.

    But we must not forget to engage with our fellow Catholics in more traditional ways. We should organize conferences and symposiums on a scholarly level. We should use these to create publications, papers, and books that can be used as a reference and broaden our discussion.

    We should also create a movement of Catholic families, of “domestic churches”, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.

    We must, at this dangerous time, be courageous in illuminating the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the “Kasper agenda,” demonstrating the continuity of the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of the history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers. We should demonstrate, on the one side, the real beauty of a marital, family, or single life in chastity and fidelity. On the other side, we must point to the demonstrated ugliness, unhappiness, and schizophrenia of a life against the divinely-established order.

    To give hope to those who are struggling, it is important for us to give examples of repentant Catholics from the past and present time. Those who converted from their sinful life in adultery, divorce, or sodomy.

    To address the errors currently being spread, true Catholic husbands, families and single persons must write to the pope, to the their bishops, and to the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia, notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events with such an agenda which are being promoted though ecclesiastical persons or groups.

    These are all means of education and formation. But the battle we are fighting is against more than ignorance. It is against principalities and powers. It cannot succeed unless we organize a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as “The Holiness of Family and Marriage,” “The Call to Chastity,” “The Beauty and Happiness of a Chaste Life,” “The Imitation of Christ in Family Life,” and “Expiation for the Sins Against Family and Marriage.”

    Perhaps most fundamental of all, we should pray fervently that God may give to His Church holy bishops and holy popes. Such a prayer should be prayed especially by children, because the prayer of the innocent ones penetrates heaven like no other.

Papal Deciding Power

Who has the last word to decide regarding Church dogma?

You would think it would be the wisest, the most influential, the most experienced, the most religious, the holiest man; or, in any case, the one who has presumably gathered all these qualities in himself.

That is not it at all!

It is a man who is usually sufficiently gifted and competent, but who may very well not be so endowed, and occasionally is one who is not gifted at all.

He is one who is chosen with a large degree of risk, a judge who does not offer any particular guarantee, except that he is regularly invested as the successor of Saint Peter and thereby becomes the inheritor of the promise.

A.-D. Sertillanges, O.P. Catechisme des Incroyants, Vol I, Flammarion: Paris 1930, p. 112.
(Plinthos translation)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

To Be A Christian: Another Christ

Today, as last year, Pope Francis uses
plain  olive-wood ferula
Palm Sunday, Saint Peter's Square

A Christian represents Christ on earth;
he must think the thoughts of Christ
and speak His words.
He must be tender as Christ was tender;
pure and holy as his Lord;
he must shine like a star in the world.

"I wish for you a holy week in contemplation of the mystery of the Lord Jesus Christ"  --Pope Francis

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jesus Christ New Movie: Released Today in Theaters in Spain

Directed by Óscar Parra de Carrizosa, focuses upon the relationshiop between Christ and His Apostles.

N.B. Sor Cristina triunfa con Buenafuente (Spanish television interview)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Pope Francis Minute

The Incarnation Day

A quote from The Council of Chalcedon defining the two natures (perfect God and perfect man) in one divine Person of Jesus Christ, conceived today.

Today, Annunciation Day, 25th of March, the world became flesh and the hypstatic union was forever forged by God in Christ, some 2015 years ago!

"[F]ollowing the saintly fathers,
 we all with one voice teach the confession
of one and the same Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ:
the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity,
the same truly God and truly man,
of a rational soul and a body;
consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity,
and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity;
like us in all respects except for sin;
begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity,
and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer
as regards his humanity;
one and the same Christ,
acknowledged in two natures
which undergo no confusion,
no change,
no division,
no separation;
at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union,
but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person
and a single subsistent being;
he is not parted or divided into two persons,
but is one and the same only-begotten Son,
Lord Jesus Christ,
just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him,
and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us,
and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us."

»Uno y el mismo Cristo,
el Hijo Unigénito,
en dos naturalezas
ha de ser reconocido,
nunca suprimida la diferencia de las naturalezas por la unión,
más bien salvada la propiedad de una y otra naturaleza,
que concurren en una sola persona e hipóstasis,
no partido o dividido en dos personas,
sino uno y el mismo Hijo,
el Verbo de Dios,
el Señor Jesucristo:
como antes los Profetas acerca de Él
y el mismo Jesucristo nos enseñó,
y nos transmitió el Símbolo de los Padres».

Cf. Christoph Schonborn, Die Christus-Ikone (Schaffhausen, 1984), quoted extensively in Joseph Ratzinger in Communion Volume 2 Antropology and Culture, pp 97-98.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Freising Moor

Moor's Head: Bishopric Coat of Arms
This is a controversial charge in the Freising Coat of Arms, which could represent one of many different persons:
+ One of the three Magi (one of them is shown as a moor)
+ Saints who were, or probably were, moors
St. Sigismund (mixed up with St. Mauritius)
St. Corbinian, who was not a moor, but whose pictures might have become darker over time.
+ Other person or meaning lost in time
It is important to note the crown on the moor's head, which probably indicated that the territory of the Bishop of Freising was autonomous.
Cardinal Ratzinger's Episcopal Coat of Arms

Saint Corbinian's Bear: City of  Freising Coat of  Arms

It is instructive that the only element added by Pope Benedict is the pilgrim shell, to which he also referred upon his abdication among his last words on the last day of his papacy.

 I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Believers Believe: The 3 Minute Catechism

This is one of 72 short films on the Catholic Faith.

Produced by the same people involved in the last post (e.g. Father Johannes Maria Schwarz)

And !En Espanol!

The Aquinas Institute

See also Soldados de Cristo YouTube Channel,
for more great Catholic documentary videos en espanol.

Atheism Debunked (German)

The priest in this video explaining how atheism is illogical and ultimately unsatisfactory for humanity and understanding.

Part of a multiple series course presenting the logic of the Catholic culture: Mein Gott und Walter
They use Saint Thomas Aquinas to clearly answer the modern confusions.

First class documentary 15-20 minute films with incredibly tight reasoning and presentation of the faith.

We need this in English! And in Spanish!

Father Johannes Maria Schwarz has an incredible Vimeo channel too with some videos in English!

Planned Parenthood Enormous Tax Funded Abortion Industry

+Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 abortions in 2013, a slight increase from 2012 (327,166)

+ Planned Parenthood has performed nearly one million abortions (988,783) in the past three reported years (2011-2013)

+ Abortions made up 94% of Planned Parenthood's pregnancy services while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 5% (18,684) or 5% (1,880)

+ Planned Parenthood's cancer prevention services are down 17% over one year

+ During fiscal year 2013-2014, Planned Parenthood received more than $528,000,000 in taxpayer funding or more than $1,400,000 ($1.4 million) per day. Taxpayer funding is down 2% from the previous fiscal year ($541,000,000).

+ Taxpayer funding accounts for 41% of Planned Parenthood's overall revenue

+ Planned Parenthood reported more than $127,000,000 ($127 million) in excess revenue and more than $1,400,000,000 ($1.4 billion) in assets.

Susan B. Anthony List Fact Sheet
Life News

On the Rubrics for Holy Thursday Foot Washings

Some observations on the rubrics of Holy Thursday's Mandatum
1) The foot washing is optional.
2) The number of men is not specified.
3) The washing is of both feet of each man.
4) There is no kissing of the feet called for in the ritual.
Here are the relevant Holy Thursday rubrics (emphasis is mine) of new English Edition Missal 2011

The Washing of Feet
10. After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it, the Washing of Feet follows.
11. The men who have been chosen are led by the ministers to seats prepared in a suitable place. Then the Priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each one, and, with the help of the ministers, pours water over each one's feet and then dries them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"God is Dead" Consequences

The Parable of the Madman, Nietzsche

Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place, and cried incessantly: "I am looking for God! I am looking for God!"
As many of those who did not believe in God were standing together there, he excited considerable laughter. Have you lost him, then? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they shouted and laughed. The madman sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances.

"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us - for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and again regarded his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern to the ground, and it broke and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time has not come yet. The tremendous event is still on its way, still travelling - it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves."

It has been further related that on that same day the madman entered divers churches and there sang a requiem. Led out and quietened, he is said to have retorted each time: "what are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchres of God?"


If no Church, no Christ.
If no Christ, no God.
If no God, nothing!


Christus vincit!
Christus regnat!
Christus imperat!

"These men have not convinced me that there is no God. But they have convinced me that there is a devil!" Archbishop Fulton Sheen (at the close of the above show).

Fifteen Reasons I Believe in God

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Gay" Pride Harvest

I personally spent a year caring for AIDS patients at a facility in Washington, DC (Gift of Peace), which included changing diapers, and this is what it was like! No joke! The man I cared for with such an incurable lesion, in addition to AIDS, had herpes, hence the lesions. It is very common for the HIV+ to have other forms of STD's too, which, of course, is a double disaster!

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded the world (cf. Deus Caritas Est, Interview en route to Africa), the Catholic Church is at the forefront of caring for people with AIDS.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

May no one be proud of sin! Sin kills! It is the consistent teaching of Sacred Scripture and of true religion. Holiness of life saves. Jesus saves! Repent and believe in the Gospel!

N.B. Homosex and health.
Condoms Do Not Protect You!

Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Twenty Dollar Bill

There is presently discussion about putting a lady on the American $20 Bill.

Why not the greatest Lady of America, on all accounts?: Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Who is the greatest woman of our nation? Who is the greatest woman of America? Well, there is only one who comes to mind!

If we honor Columbus who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered America we do well to remember her who adopted all Americans as her children. She is a Native American, the same race as the people who walked these lands thousands of years before any European even knew the land was here, a race that is still here revering her in the hundreds of millions, honorable, hardworking religious family people. And, yet, she is also of European extraction. She mixed as are many Americans today, she is both light and dark! She shows no prejudice.

She is a model of virginity and a model of motherhood and spousal fidelity.

Some might object that she is not American. That would be an anachronism for she first came here when this land was one land, a century before the English colonies.

Others might say that she is not real. She is at least as real as the statue of liberty which should perhaps be removed on the same reasoning! There is no denying the historical reality of the devotion to her, even if the incredulous wish to contest her substance. She is part of every part of America more than any other woman for five hundred years and growing every day even to our own!; perhaps with a special claim to USA, with people from every land of America arriving daily, and from every other people and land of the globe (she being the Mother and Empress also of the entire universe!).

Still others might claim that this would be an unlawful sanction of religion by the state. Rubbish! Does anyone think that present day secular Mexico sanctioned religion when it put the standard of Our Lady of Guadalupe on it's bicentennial 200 Pesos Bill in 2010? Don't worry, no one in his right mind could possibly think that the United States Government is presently confessing, promoting or otherwise supporting the Catholic faith. If anything, the opposite impression is almost consistently given. Besides, the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Jew and is revered as the mother of Jesus by Islam, and being the Mother of Christ, cannot possibly present a real offense even to our beloved Protestant separated brethren in the one true Faith! She, in fact, is the most ecumenical Lady ever. Rather, to exclude her from the contest would be unconstitutional, an unlawful anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Islam bias of the government weighing in against religion!

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of America, should grace our bills and all of our affairs and we should not be biased against her, for she has as much right as any woman in our history of which she is surely and continues to be a central and vital part! More than all others!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Francis Patrick Duffy (May 2, 1871 - June 27, 1932) Canadian American soldier, Roman Catholic Priest and Military Chaplain

Below is the historic response of Al Smith regarding Catholic patriotism, ghost-written by Father Francis Patrick Duffy, whose bronze statue graces the Park in the Middle of Times Square, New York City.

Click here for the instigating open letter of Charles Marshall.

Catholic and Patriot

The Atlantic
MAY 1927
ALFRED E. SMITH MAY 1 1927, 12:00 PM ET

This is an historic incident, historic for the country and for the Church. Now for the first time in the public's history, under a constitution which forever forbids religious tests as qualifications for office, a candidate for the Presidency has been subjected to public questioning as to how he can give undivided allegiance to his country when his church restricts the freedom of his choice; and the candidate has answered—answered not deviously and with indirection, but straightforwardly, bravely, with the clear ring of candor. It is an issue of infinite possibilities. Is the principle of religious tolerance, universal and complete, which every schoolboy has repeated for one hundred and fifty years, mere platitudinous vaporing? Can men worshiping God in their differing ways believe without reservation of conscience in a common political ideal? Is the United States of America based on a delusion? Can the vast experiment of the Republic, Protestant and Catholic, churched and unchurched, succeed? And this is the converse of the question: Will the churches suffer their members to be really free? 'Thou shalt have none other gods but me,' thundered the Jewish Jehovah from Sinai, and ever since the gods of the churches have demanded that their control be not abridged nor diminished. But as the creeds clash about us, we remember that not in political programmes only may religion have its place separate and apart from politics, from public discussion, and from the laws of society. Quite elsewhere is it written, 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's: and unto God the things that are God's.' The discussion has served its purpose. Not in this campaign will whispering and innuendoes, shruggings and hunchings, usurp the place of reason and of argument. The thoughts rising almost unbidden in the minds of the least bigoted of us when we watch a Roman Catholic aspire to the Presidency of the United States have become matters of high, serious, and eloquent debate.

Charles C. Marshall, Esq.

DEAR Sir: —

In your open letter to me in the April Atlantic Monthly you 'impute' to American Catholics views which, if held by them, would leave open to question the loyalty and devotion to this country and its Constitution of more than twenty million American Catholic citizens. I am grateful to you for defining this issue in the open and for your courteous expression of the satisfaction it will bring to my fellow citizens for me to give 'a disclaimer of the convictions' thus imputed. Without mental reservation I can and do make that disclaimer. These convictions are held neither by me nor by any other American Catholic, as far as I know. Before answering the argument of your letter, however, I must dispose of one of its implications. You put your questions to me in connection with my candidacy for the office of President of the United States. My attitude with respect to that candidacy was fully stated in my last inaugural address as Governor when, on January 1, 1927, I said: — 'I have no idea what the future has in store for me. Everyone else in the United States has some notion about it except myself. No man could stand before this intelligent gathering and say that he was not receptive to the greatest position the world has to give anyone. But I can say this, that I will do nothing to achieve it except to give to the people of the State the kind and character of service that will make me deserve it.'

I should be a poor American and a poor Catholic alike if I injected religious discussion into a political campaign. Therefore I would ask you to accept this answer from me not as a candidate for any public office but as an American citizen, honored with high elective office, meeting a challenge to his patriotism and his intellectual integrity. Moreover, I call your attention to the fact that I am only a layman. The Atlantic Monthly describes you as 'an experienced attorney' who 'has made himself an authority upon canon law.' I am neither a lawyer nor a theologian. What knowledge of law I have was gained in the course of my long experience in the Legislature and as Chief Executive of New York State. I had no such opportunity to study theology.

My first thought was to answer you with just the faith that is in me. But I knew instinctively that your conclusions could be logically proved false. It seemed right, therefore, to take counsel with someone schooled in the Church law, from whom I learned whatever is hereafter set forth in definite answer to the theological questions you raise. I selected one whose patriotism neither you nor any other man will question. He wears upon his breast the Distinguished Service Cross of our country, its Distinguished Service Medal, the Ribbon of the Legion of Honor, and the Croix de Guerre with Palm of the French Republic. He was the Catholic Chaplain of the almost wholly Catholic 165th Regiment in the World War, Father Francis P. Duffy, now in the military service of my own State.

Taking your letter as a whole and reducing it to commonplace English, you imply that there is conflict between religious loyalty to the Catholic faith and patriotic loyalty to the United States. Everything that has actually happened to me during my long public career leads me to know that no such thing as that is true. I have taken an oath of office in this State nineteen times. Each time I swore to defend and maintain the Constitution of the United States. All of this represents a period of public service in elective office almost continuous since 1903. I have never known any conflict between my official duties and my religious belief. No such conflict could exist. Certainly the people of this State recognize no such conflict. They have testified to my devotion to public duty by electing me to the highest office within their active gift four times. You yourself do me the honor, in addressing me, to refer to 'your fidelity to the morality you have advocated in public and private life and to the religion you have revered; your great record of public trusts successfully and honestly discharged.' During the years I have discharged these trusts I have been a communicant of the Roman Catholic Church. If there were conflict, I, of all men, could not have escaped it, because I have not been a silent man, but a battler for social and political reform. These battles would in their very nature disclose this conflict if there were any.

I regard public education as one of the foremost functions of government and I have supported to the last degree the State Department of Education in every effort to promote our public school system. The largest single item of increased appropriations under my administration appears in the educational group for the support of common schools. Since 1919, when I first became Governor, this item has grown from $9,000,000 to $82,500,000. My aim—and I may say I have succeeded in achieving it—has been legislation for child welfare, the protection of working men, women, and children, the modernization of the State's institutions for the care of helpless or unfortunate wards, the preservation of freedom of speech and opinion against the attack of war-time hysteria, and the complete reorganization of the structure of the government of the State.

I did not struggle for these things for any single element, but in the interest of all of the eleven million people who make up the State. In all of this work I had the support of churches of all denominations. I probably know as many ecclesiastics of my Church as any other layman. During my long and active public career I never received from any of them anything except cooperation and encouragement in the full and complete discharge of my duty to the State. Moreover, I am unable to understand how anything that I was taught to believe as a Catholic could possibly be in conflict with what is good citizenship. The essence of my faith is built upon the Commandments of God. The law of the land is built upon the Commandments of God. There can be no conflict between them. Instead of quarreling among ourselves over dogmatic principles, it would be infinitely better if we joined together in inculcating obedience to these Commandments in the hearts and minds of the youth of the country as the surest and best road to happiness on this earth and to peace in the world to come. This is the common ideal of all religions. What we need is more religion for our young people, not less; and the way to get more religion is to stop the bickering among our sects which can only have for its effect the creation of doubt in the minds of our youth as to whether or not it is necessary to pay attention to religion at all.

Then I know your imputations are false when I recall the long list of other public servants of my faith who have loyally served the State. You as a lawyer will probably agree that the office of Chief Justice of the United States is second not even to that of the President in its influence on the national development and policy. That court by its interpretation of the Federal Constitution is a check not only upon the President himself but upon Congress as well. During one fourth of its history it has been presided over by two Catholics, Roger Brooke Taney and Edward Douglass White. No one has suggested that the official conduct of either of these men was affected by any unwarranted religious influence or that played with them any part other than it should play in the life of every God-fearing man.

And I know your imputations are false when I recall the tens of thousands of young Catholics who have risked and sacrificed their lives in defense of our country. These fundamentals of life could not be true unless your imputations were false.

But, wishing to meet you on your own ground, I address myself to your definite questions, against which I have thus far made only general statements. I must first call attention to the fact that you often divorce sentences from their context in such a way as to give them something other than their real meaning. I will specify. You refer to the Apostolic Letter of Pope Leo XIII as 'declaring to the world that the orders of the Church of England were void, her priests not priests,' and so forth. You say that this was the 'strange fruit' of the toleration of England to the Catholics. You imply that the Pope gratuitously issued an affront to the Anglican Church. In fact, this Apostolic Letter was an answer to a request made at the instance of priests of the Anglican Church for recognition by the Roman Catholic Church of the validity of their priestly orders. The request was based on the ground that they had been ordained in succession from the Roman Catholic priests who became the first priests of the Anglican Church. The Apostolic Letter was a mere adverse answer to this request, ruling that Anglican priests were not Roman Catholic priests, and was in no sense the gratuitous insult which you suggest it to be. It was not directed against England or citizens of that Empire.

Again, you quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia that my Church 'regards dogmatic intolerance, not alone as her incontestable right, but as her sacred duty.' And you say that these words show that Catholics are taught to be politically, socially, and intellectually intolerant of all other people. If you had read the whole of that article in the Catholic Encyclopedia, you would know that the real meaning of these words is that for Catholics alone the Church recognizes no deviation from complete acceptance of its dogma. These words are used in a chapter dealing with that subject only. The very same article in another chapter dealing with toleration toward non-Catholics contains these words: 'The intolerant man is avoided as much as possible by every high-minded person.... The man who is tolerant in every emergency is alone lovable. The phrase 'dogmatic intolerance' does not mean that Catholics are to be dogmatically intolerant of other people, but merely that inside the Catholic Church they are to be intolerant of any variance from the dogma of the Church.

Similar criticism can be made of many of your quotations. But, beyond this, by what right do you ask me to assume responsibility for every statement that may be made in any encyclical letter? As you will find in the Catholic Encyclopedia(Vol. V, p. 414), these encyclicals are not articles of our faith. The Syllabus of Pope Pius IX, which you quote on the possible conflict between Church and State, is declared by Cardinal Newman to have 'no dogmatic force.' You seem to think that Catholics must be all alike in mind and in heart, as though they had been poured into and taken out of the same mould. You have no more right to ask me to defend as part of my faith every statement coming from a prelate than I should have to ask you to accept as an article of your religious faith every statement of an Episcopal bishop, or of your political faith every statement of a President of the United States. So little are these matters of the essence of my faith that I, a devout Catholic since childhood, never heard of them until I read your letter. Nor can you quote from the canons of our faith a syllable that would make us less good citizens than non-Catholics. In fact and in truth, I have been taught the spirit of tolerance, and when you, Mr. Marshall, as a Protestant Episcopalian, join with me in saying the Lord's Prayer, we both pray, not to 'My Father,' but to 'Our Father.'

But I go further to demonstrate that the true construction of your quotations by the leaders of Catholic thought is diametrically the opposite of what you suggest it to be.

Your first proposition is that Catholics believe that other religions should, in the United States, be tolerated only as a matter of favor and that there should be an established church. You may find some dream of an ideal of a Catholic State, having no relation whatever to actuality, somewhere described. But, voicing the best Catholic thought on this subject, Dr. John A. Ryan, Professor of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America, writes in The State and the Church of the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, quoted by you:—

'In practice, however, the foregoing propositions have full application only to the completely Catholic State....The propositions of Pope Pius IX condemning the toleration of non-Catholic sects do not now, says Father Pohle, "apply even to Spain or the South American republics, to say nothing of countries possessing a greatly mixed population." He lays down the following general rule: "When several religions have firmly established themselves and taken root in the same territory, nothing else remains for the State than to exercise tolerance towards them all, or, as conditions exist to-day, to complete religious liberty for individual and religious bodies a principle of government."'

That is good Americanism and good Catholicism. And Father Pohle, one of the great writers of the Catholic Church, says further: — 'If religious freedom has been accepted and sworn to as a fundamental law in a constitution, the obligation to show this tolerance is binding in conscience.' The American prelates of our Church stoutly defend our constitutional declaration of equality of all religions before the law. Cardinal O'Connell has said:

'Thus to every American citizen has come the blessed inheritance of civil political, and religious liberty safeguarded by the American Constitution ... the right to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.'

Archbishop Ireland has said: 'The Constitution of the United States reads: "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It was a great leap forward on the part of the new nation towards personal liberty and the consecration of the rights of conscience.'

Archbishop Dowling, referring to any conceivable union of Church and State, says: 'So many conditions for its accomplishment are lacking in every government of the world that the thesis may well be relegated to the limbo of defunct controversies.'

I think you have taken your thesis from this limbo of defunct controversies. Archbishop Ireland again said: 'Religious freedom is the basic life of America, the cement running through all its walls and battlements, the safeguard of its peace and prosperity. Violate religious freedom against Catholics, our swords are at once unsheathed. Violate it in favor of Catholics, against non-Catholics, no less readily do they leap from the scabbard.'

Cardinal Gibbons has said: 'American Catholics rejoice in our separation of Church and State, and I can conceive no combination of circumstances likely to arise which would make a union desirable to either Church or State.... For ourselves we thank God that we live in America, "in this happy country of ours," to quote Mr. Roosevelt, where "religion and liberty are natural allies."'

And referring particularly to your quotation from Pope Pius IX, Dr. Ryan, in The State and the Church, says: 'Pope Pius IX did not intend to declare that separation is always unadvisable, for he had more than once expressed his satisfaction with the arrangement obtaining in the United States.' With these great Catholics I stand squarely in support of the provisions of the Constitution which guarantee religious freedom and equality.

I come now to the speculation with which theorists have played for generations as to the respective functions of Church and State. You claim that the Roman Catholic Church holds that, if conflict arises, the Church must prevail over the State. You write as though there were some Catholic authority or tribunal to decide with respect to such conflict. Of course there is no such thing. As Dr. Ryan writes: 'The Catholic doctrine concedes, nay, maintains, that the State is coordinate with the Church and equally independent and supreme in its own distinct sphere.'

What is the Protestant position? The Articles of Religion of your Protestant Episcopal Church (XXXVII) declare: 'The Power of the Civil Magistrate extendeth to all men, as well Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual.'

Your Church, just as mine, is voicing the injunction of our common Saviour to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

What is this conflict about which you talk? It may exist in some lands which do not guarantee religious freedom. But in the wildest dreams of your imagination you cannot conjure up a possible conflict between religious principle and political duty in the United States, except on the unthinkable hypothesis, that some law were to be passed which violated the common morality of all God-fearing men. And if you can conjure up such a conflict, how would a Protestant resolve it? Obviously by the dictates of his conscience. That is exactly what a Catholic would do. There is no ecclesiastical tribunal which would have the slightest claim upon the obedience of Catholic communicants in the resolution of such a conflict. As Cardinal Gibbons said of the supposition that 'the Pope were to issue commands in purely civil matters':—

'He would be offending not only against civil society, but against God, and violating an authority as truly from God as his own. Any Catholic who clearly recognized this would not be bound to obey the Pope; or rather his conscience would bind him absolutely to disobey, because with Catholics conscience is the supreme law which under no circumstances can we ever lawfully disobey.' Archbishop Ireland said: 'To priest, to Bishop, or to Pope (I am willing to consider the hypothesis) who should attempt to rule in matters civil and political, to influence the citizen beyond the range of their own orbit of jurisdiction that are the things of God, the answer is quickly made: "Back to your own sphere of rights and duties, back to the things of God."'

Bishop England, referring to our Constitution, said: 'Let the Pope and the Cardinals and all the powers of the Catholic world united make the least encroachment on that Constitution, we will protect it with our lives. Summon a General Council—let that Council interfere in the mode of our electing but an assistant to a turnkey of a prison—we deny the right, we reject the usurpation.'

Our Supreme Court has marked out the spheres of influence of Church and State in a case from which you quote copiously, Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. 729; but you refrain from quoting this statement: —

'The right to organize voluntary religious associations, to assist in the expression and dissemination of any religious doctrine, and to create tribunals for the decision of controverted questions of faith within the association and for the ecclesiastical government of all of the individual members, the congregation an officers within the general association, is, unquestioned.... It is of the essence of these religious unions and of their right to establish tribunals for the decision of questions arising among themselves that those decisions could be binding in all cases of ecclesiastical cognizance, subject only to such appeal as the organism itself provides for.'

That is the State's attitude toward the Church. Archbishop Ireland thus puts the Church's attitude toward the State:—

'To the Catholic obedience to law is a religious obligation, binding in God's name the conscience of the citizen ... Both Americanism and Catholicism bow to the sway of personal conscience."

Under our system of government the electorate entrusts to its officers of every faith the solemn duty of action according to the dictates of conscience. I may fairly refer once more to my own record to support these truths. No man, cleric or lay, has ever directly or indirectly attempted to exercise Church influence on my administration of any office I have ever held, nor asked me to show special favor to Catholics or exercise discrimination against non-Catholics. It is a well-known fact that I have all of my appointments to public on the basis of merit and have never asked any man about his religious belief. In the first month of this year there gathered in the Capitol at the first Governor's cabinet that ever sat in this State. It was composed, under my appointment, of two Catholics, thirteen Protestants, and one Jew. The man closest to me in the administration of the government of the State of New York is he who bears the title of Assistant to the Governor. He had been connected with the Governor's office for thirty years, in subordinate capacities, until I promoted him to the position which makes him the sharer with me of my thought and hope and ambition in the administration of the State. He is a Protestant, a Republican, and a thirty-second-degree Mason. In my public life I have exemplified that separation of Church from State which is the faith of American Catholics today.

I next come to education. You admit that the Supreme Court guaranteed to Catholics the right to maintain their parochial schools; and you ask me whether they would have so ruled if it had been shown that children in parochial schools were taught that the State should show discrimination between religions, that Protestants should be recognized only as a matter of favor, that they should be intolerant to non-Catholics, and that the laws of the State could be flouted on the ground of the imaginary conflict. My summary answer is: I and all my children went to a parochial school. I never heard of any such stuff being taught or of anybody who claimed that it was. That any group of Catholics would teach it is unthinkable.

You next challenge the action of the Rota in annulling the Marlborough marriage. You suggest that the Rota by annulling the marriage (where the civil courts recognized it, but granted only a divorce) is interfering with the jurisdiction. That might be so if anybody claimed that the decree of the Rota had any effect under the laws of America, or any other nation of the world. But you must know that it has no such effect and that nobody claims it has. The decree merely defined the status of the parties as communicants of the Church. Your Church refuses to recognize the ecclesiastical validity of divorces granted by the civil tribunals. Your Church has its tribunals to administer its laws for the government of its members as communicants of your Church. But their decrees have no bearing upon the status of your members as citizens of the United States. There is no difference in that respect between your tribunals and the Rota.

Finally you come to Mexico. By inference from the brief of a distinguished lawyer you intimate that it is the purpose of organized Catholics to seek intervention by the United States. Now I never read Mr. Guthrie's brief. I do not have to read it to reply to you, because the Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Episcopate of the United States in unmistakable words disclaimed any such intention. I do not see how, with complete candor, you could write to me about Mexico without quoting the following from that Pastoral Letter: —

'What, therefore, we have written is no call on the faithful here or elsewhere to purely human action. It is no interposition of our influence either as Bishops or as citizens to reach those who possess political power anywhere on earth, and least of all in our own country, to the end that they should intervene with armed force in the internal affairs of Mexico for the protection of the Church. Our duty is done when, by telling the story, we sound a warning to Christian civilization, that its foundations are again being attacked and undermined. For the rest, God will bring His will to pass in His own good time and in His own good way.'

My personal attitude, wholly consistent with that of my Church, is that I believe in peace on earth, good will to men, and that no country has a right to interfere in the internal affairs of any other country. I recognize the right of no church to ask armed intervention by this country in the affairs of another merely for the defense of the rights of a church. But I do recognize the propriety of Church action to request the good offices of this country to help the oppressed of any land, as those good offices have been so often used for the protection of Protestant missionaries in the Orient and the persecuted Jews of eastern Europe.

I summarize my creed as an American Catholic. I believe in the worship of God according to the faith and practice of the Roman Catholic Church. I recognize no power in the institutions of my Church to interfere with the operations of the Constitution of the United States or the enforcement of the law of the land. I believe in absolute freedom of conscience for all men and in equality of all churches, all sects, and all beliefs before the law as a matter of right and not as a matter of favor. I believe in the absolute separation of Church and State and in the strict enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. I believe that no tribunal of any church has any power to make any decree of any force in the law of the land, other than to establish the status of its own communicants within its own church. I believe in the support of the public school as one of the cornerstones of American liberty. I believe in the right of every parent to choose whether his child shall be educated in the public school or in a religious school supported by those of his own faith. I believe in the principled noninterference by this country in the internal affairs of other nations and that we should stand steadfastly against any such interference by whomsoever it may be urged. And I believe in the common brotherhood of man under the common fatherhood of God.

In this spirit I join with fellow Americans of all creeds in a fervent prayer that never again in this land will any public servant be challenged because of the faith in which he has tried to walk humbly with his God.

Very truly yours,
Alfred E. Smith

N.B. Father Willie Doyle, SJ, a saintly Irish priest soldier.
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